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Health insurance plans are a safety net for women’s health and help greatly during medical emergencies. Learn more on health insurance coverage for women.
By Melanie Lobo
Women often have a tendency to neglect themselves. They are so caught up in looking after their families that their own health takes a backseat. However, it is essential that women sit up and look after themselves as well.
Health insurance was not a very large concern for the Indian population till recently. Now, coupled with the economic changes every year, many people are opting for health insurance as a tool of financial stability. There is also an increased interest in women’s health and closely linked with this, is health insurance coverage for women.
Women’s health insurance plans are specially designed keeping in mind various illnesses that a woman may get during her lifetime. Several health insurance companies have women specific plans which cover critical illnesses, and even certain cancers.
There are many types of health insurance plans for women and these include stand alone plans or family plans. There are even specific plans that provide benefits during certain periods in a woman’s life such as pregnancy. Health insurance coverage can also be a part of other insurance plans such as travel policies and personal accident plans.
Several health insurance companies have women specific plans which cover critical illnesses, and even certain cancers.
Mr. Anand Singhi, Head, Operations and Healthcare Management, Reliance General, Mumbai states,“Women now have more choices when it comes to opting for a maternity benefit plan.” Earlier, this was only available through corporate plans but now there are a few companies that offer retail plans with this covered as well.
Keep these points in mind:
– Check whether the plan you are opting for is a Floater Plan or an Individual Sum Insured Plan. The former is when a single sum covers your entire family and the latter where there is a limit for each person covered in the plan.
– Are pre-existing diseases covered under the plan?
– Is there a waiting period for certain illnesses (such as hernia, gallbladder/kidney stones, cataract etc) under the plan? More specifically, where women’s health is concerned, check if there is a waiting period for chronic ailments such as cysts or fibroids or a procedure like hysterectomy.
– Does the health insurance coverage extend to checkups or outpatient bills as well?
– Are there any value added services that the health insurance plan covers? For instance, discounts at certain health zones or health checkups.
– If the plan has a maternity cover, is there any waiting period for maternity. Does the plan also include health insurance coverage for the baby from birth itself? (This is known as an extension of the maternity cover in such plans.)
– Most importantly, women should look very closely at evaluating two aspects in the health insurance policy they take out. One area of course is maternity benefits and the other, whether certain women related diseases are covered as well as the extent of their coverage in the specific policy.
For instance, Bajaj Allianz’s Critical Illness Cover for Women is a health insurance coverage that covers 8 critical illnesses. These include breast cancer, ovarian cancer, vaginal cancer, cervical cancer, burns, uterine/endometrial cancer, fallopian tube cancer, and paralysis/multitrauma. There are also additional benefits to this plan such as a Congenital Disability Benefit and a Children’s Education Bonus. There is also a clause that a woman who loses her job 3 months after being discovered with a critical illness will receive a certain amount of money.
The areas not generally covered by health insurance plans for women are:
– Birth control/sterilization procedures
– Medical termination of a pregnancy
– Treatment related to infertility
– Stem Cell Banking and related procedures
– Diagnostic tests (such as hysteroscopy, diagnostic laparoscopy) for any disease
Health insurance companies have woken up to the fact that the Indian woman is a modern woman and is looking out for herself. Therefore it is essential that you see if the plan is benefitting you in more ways than one. For example, does the plan offer you various options, is there a choice of a yearly premium, are there any waiver benefits, is there any age limit to the plan, can you avail of cashless hospitalization and so on.
Remember that the earlier you sign up for health insurance, the better it will be.
The next question you should ask yourself is whether it is better to be included as part of a family plan or to take out an individual plan? Keep in mind that a Floater plan will offer you more flexibility and economic viability as well. If you and your husband choose to opt for a health insurance plan for the whole family, it would give you almost the same benefits as any woman specific plan will.
Some health insurance plans available in the market today are:
– Bajaj Allianz’s Critical Illness Cover for Women
– Wellsurance Woman – from TATA AIG
– HDFC Life Smart Woman Plan
– JeevanBharti-I – from LIC
Remember that the earlier you sign up for health insurance, the better it will be. Not only in terms of the premium you will pay but due to the fact that as you grow older, you may suffer from certain diseases that may not be included in the policy you take. It is imperative nowadays that you insure your health. After all, you’re worth it!
*Disclaimer: The products mentioned above have been identified by the writer after research as options available. Please note that neither the writer nor Women’s Web is endorsing any of the products.
*Photo credit: Kurhan.
Melanie Lobo is a freelance writer. She grew up in cities across India but now
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